S Jaishankar
S Jaishankar
File Pic

Washington: The outcome of the current arguments between the US and China will significantly impact rest of the world and create new approaches to the global affairs, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.

Speaking at a programme organised by a major US think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday, Jaishankar said the primary characteristics of world politics today are rebalancing of the global economy and polity.

"The primary characteristics of world politics today are the rebalancing of the global economy and polity, as well as the sharpening contradiction between the United States and China," he said.

"Both powers are engaging the world in a manner different from their past. Whatever the outcome of their current arguments, their behaviour will impact the rest of the world very significantly.

It will change our thinking and probably in time, create new approaches to global affairs," he said. Describing the current era as a tumultuous time, he said it is a far cry from the soothing mantras of globalisation that one heard just a few years ago.

During his address that was based on the subject "Preparing for a Different Era", the minister said that preparation for a more competitive and complex era will require a different mindset and for a country like India it would be in addition to the changes induced by its climb up the global power hierarchy.

"Preparing for a more competitive and complex era will require a different mindset. For a nation like India, this would be in addition to the changes induced by its climb up the global power hierarchy," he said.

Giving a sense of the Modi 2.0 foreign policy, Jaishankar said that India's broad approach will be reflected in the primacy of long-term thinking over short-term calculations.

"It would encourage undertaking deep structural changes and ambitious socio-economic initiatives that can transform both habits and attitudes. In this world, what were presumed to be intractable challenges will have to be addressed, not ducked.

An example to point is that of the recent changes in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir," Jaishankar said. India ended Jammu and Kashmir's special status by abrogating Article 370 of its Constitution on August 5.

Stating that in this different era, there will be convergence with many but congruence with none, Jaishankar said that finding common points to engage with as many power centres will characterise diplomacy at its highest level.

"For this reason, India finds it perfectly natural to engage a Chinese leader at Wuhan, the Russian one at Sochi and then go on to do the '2+2' meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers with the United States," he said.

"At the G-20 in Buenos Aires last year, it engaged back to back, in fact this year as well, in two tri-laterals: US-Japan-India as well as Russia-India-China. The country that fares the best is the one which has least problems with its peer group and the broadest acceptance beyond," he said.

Jaishankar said that the game has now become one of positioning and optimising. "For a number of reasons, the game has now become one of positioning and optimising.

The reality is that India either reaches out in as many directions as possible and maximizes its gains or takes a more defensive approach of avoiding engagement," Jaishankar said.

"This is not just about greater ambition, it is also about not living in yesterday. In this intensely competitive world, India's goal should be to move closer towards the strategic sweet spot," said the Indian minister.

Cautioning that a world of "all against all" is neither desirable nor indeed probable, he said the weight of history and the compulsions of politics will make sure that convergences end up as some form of collectivism and nor can beliefs and values be divorced from the behaviour of states.

"Thus, even as we look at an era of more dispersed power and sharper competition, the way forward is more likely to be new forms of accommodation rather than pure transactions," he said.

He said while each nations will naturally strive to advance their particular interests, similarities and affinities will always remain a factor.

"So, while this is an exposition on changes in international affairs, I would emphasise that the direction is towards a new architecture rather than the absence of one," he said.

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